Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian WilliamsIt’s been a long time since I read a fantasy novel that hooked me in immediately.  The discovery of another world is standard in many fantasy books, but the other world in this novel is rather unusual – it’s underground, right beneath our feet.  But no one, or very few, know of its existence. 

As Tunnels begins, Will and his father are on the brink of discovering this underground reality.  Both are rather eccentric.  They are obsessed with archeological digs and embark on many on their own – right in the middle of London.  Will is only fourteen but already knows how to excavate an underground tunnel, how to shore it up with wood supports, and how to check for safety.  His prize possession is his shovel, which he polishes regularly.

The rest of Will’s family is a little strange as well.  His mother watches TV constantly, and his 12-year-old sister Rebecca runs the house – cooks, cleans, and pays the bills.  But when Will’s father goes missing, the family moves to a new level of weird.

Enlisting the help of his only friend, Chester, Will decides to investigate his father’s disappearance.  Will and Chester find something that leads them underground – deep underground.  And the world they discover is both wondrous and menacing.  Will and Chester must adapt to life as reviled foreigners in a place where beliefs about “topsoilers” are unflattering at best, and where the ruling class is not even human.

Full of suspense, action and twists and turns, Tunnels will please kids who love a good, rousing fantasy story.